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Subject: Unique rules for different crew keywords rss

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George Krubski
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Right now, there are seven different "careers" that crew can have. With the exception of some Hill Folk (who have their own mechanics) and Saffron/Bridgit/Yolonda, every possible crew member has one "job".

Currently, Medic is the only keyword with specific rules (the option to make a Medic check), although Pilot and Mechanic are needed for a Crazy Ivan and most offer bonuses on some jobs and/or an edge on certain Misbehave cards.

Still, this (and the thread on Disgruntled crew) got me thinking... Why are the Medics the only ones who bring something special to the table? So, I started thinking...

MECHANIC: Mechanics can always scrounge for Parts. Any time you are on a planet, you can take a Buy action to buy Parts for $300 each, even if it's not a supply planet.

PILOT: Pilots know how to keep a bird in the air. If you have a Pilot on your crew, any time you are on a planet, you can take a Buy action to buy Fuel for $100 each, even if it's not a supply planet.

SOLDIER: Soldiers have skills much in demand on the Border worlds. If you do make-work on a Border planet, add $200 per Soldier on your crew. (Possibly, this is too much, but consider that, leaders aside, there are currently only 5 Soldiers in the game).

MERC: Mercs have skills similar to Soldiers... but they also expect to be paid. If you do make-work on a Border planet, add $100 per Merc on your crew. However, if you ever do a job and don't pay a Merc, that Merc immediately leaves your crew. (One thing to note here: There are a ton of Mercs in the game -- 17 of 54 possible crew members are Mercs. That may make these ideas too powerful).

COMPANION: If you have a Companion on your crew, you can take Shore Leave on a non-supply planet, but it costs twice as much.

GRIFTER: Whether it's cards, pickpocketing, or just plain fast-talking, Grifters are masters of the con. When you are on a planet or when your ship is carrying passengers or fugitives, when you do make-work, rather than $200, roll a d6, add the number of Grifters on your crew, and multiply by $100. On a roll of 1, draw a Misbehave card and resolve it before collecting any money.

Thoughts?
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Jon Snow
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arrrh This is really, really good stuff! It is, in fact, exactly the kind of thing I'd expect to see in an Official Expansion!

The discussion here is starting to remind me of the one on the The Age of Conan boards! Recent fan made mods have inspired the original designers to consider once again publishing the "Official" Expansion, which was being considered when the publishing company went out of business. So with Firefly, do we wait to see those eight expansions announced, or start modding the game ourselves?

I've printed these out for possible playtesting. In the meantime, here are some first impressions. As you note, some may be too powerful as first drafted. Also, navigating the verse efficiently between supply planets and contacts is one of the most important skills in the game, and you don't want to make it too easy to get around this.

Pilot and Mechanic: limit the ability to buying ONE Part/Fuel at a time (per turn/action) in a regular--non Supply, including Contact--planet. You can't get more, even if you have more than one of each type in your crew.

Companion: Shore Leave on a supply planet only, but instead of doubling the cost, I'd say you can pay $100 to only the disgruntled crew members you choose, rather than all of the crew (disgruntled or not).

Soldier: As is, but add only $100 per soldier.

Merc: How about as Soldier, but it takes two Mercs to get the $100? If you don't pay a Merc after a job, perhaps requireing a Merc Die Roll; on a result of 1-2 they leave your crew?

Grifter:

1. With Passengers (not Fugitives) on board: The Con Die roll of 5-6=$100; no Misbehaving. May only be attempted once per Grifter per Captain (per hiring). Use markers for attempts made.

2. On Regular Planet: Slim Pickings Die roll of 5-6= $100 per Grifter (but resolve Misbehave First to get paid)!

3.On Supply or Contact Planet: Rich Pickings Die roll of 5-6=$200 per Grifter (but resolve Misbehave first to get paid)!

These are just fine tunings on your great concepts!

 
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Stephen Williams
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I like the basic idea of this variant, but I think some of the abilities suggested are just too complicated. Setting aside the question of balance, they're just too wordy.

Here's what I would suggest:

Pilot and Mechanic are good as-is.

Soldier: You earn $100/soldier when doing Make-Work on an Alliance planet (guard duty; Alliance folk prefer professional soldiers to unsavory mercs.)

Merc: You earn $100/merc when doing Make-Work on a Border Planet. (Border folk prefer mercs over trained soldiers because they won't hesitate to get their hands dirty - an occasional necessity on fringe worlds.)

Companion: Companions EARN $200 when they go on shore leave instead of costing $100, but only if they were not disgruntled to begin with.

Grifter: While performing a Make-Work action, you may choose to roll 1 die:
1 - Misbehave (1 card.) Attempt Botched.
2-5 Earn $100/grifter.
6 - Misbehave (1 card) to get paid $200/grifter instead.

(You can only do this once, no matter how many grifters you have on board.)

Grifter (Alt): Here's an alternative Grifter bonus I came up with because I found myself thinking that so many of these abilities revolved around earning money:

When you have a grifter on board, you may take a Make-Work action in any sector to generate counterfeit papers. For each grifter on your crew, you may flip one fugitive/passenger or one contraband/cargo token over to the other side.

If you are taking a Make-Work action in a sector with a planet, this is in addition to any money you might normally earn.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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I think if you add in too much money you will break the game (if you can make work 500 per turn that is a big influx of money).

Here are some caps I would make.

Mechanic (buy parts first part is 300, each additional part costs an extra 100, so 300, 400, 500, 600, etc.)

Pilot (same as mechanic except fuel. 100, 200, 300, etc.) scrounging isn't easy.

Soldiers +100 make work Alliance space

Merc +100 make work in Border space

Companion (reduce cost of shore leave by half round up).

Grifter When dealing you may roll 1 die if you have a grifter add 1 to the die roll for each additional grifter you have:
1 Lose Solid (may take no jobs and may sell no goods)
2 May take no jobs and may sell no goods
3-4 No effect
5+ Get $100 + 100 additional per roll above 5 (max 500) IF you accept at least 1 job from the contact (Contact agrees to front money for supplies)

I like the idea of medic helping with make-work also maybe roll a die:
1 Lose a Medic (ignore in Alliance space unless Medic has a warrant)
2-4 No work for Medic
5 +100
6+ +200
 
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George Krubski
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Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, folks. Before I get into it, I wanted to throw out a few things. First up, number of each type of character:

MERC: 17 crew, no leaders.

MECHANIC: 7 crew, 2 leaders (Corbin and Marco).

MEDIC: 7 crew, no leaders.

SOLDIER: 5 crew, 3 leaders (Mal, Monty, Womack).

PILOT: 5 crew, 1 leader (Mal).

GRIFTER: 5 crew (I'm only counting Saffron once), no leaders.

COMPANION: 2 crew, 1 leader (Nandi).

NO KEY WORD: 5 crew (4 Hill Folk and River), 2 leaders (Burgess and Marco)

2 KEY WORDS: 1 crew (Saffron), 2 Leaders (Mal and Monty, both of whom are soldiers).

Looking at these numbers, we can see that, with a few exceptions, most key words are created roughly equal (5-9 of each). There as many mercs as any two other positions, and companions are exceedingly rare.

Besides mercs, it seems pretty unlikely for a single crew to have more than 2 of a given role (due to scarcity, location, etc), but when considering what each role should do or should not do, it's important to account for outliers, too.

Next point: Some of my reasoning behind this:

1) I wanted to make the crew a little more interesting but...

2) Not too complicated.

3) Some of these are convenience issues, but I need to consider if they border on abusive. Consider that a number of pieces of gear and supplies also offer convenience.

4) Firefly can be played solo or vs other players. I'd like to make sure these things are not abusive in either circumstance.

This message wound up being longer than expected, so I'm going to start fresh in a different message.
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George Krubski
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So now, looking at the initial feedback keyword by keyword:

MEDIC

Daniel, I don't disagree that Medics should be able to add to make-work... but they're already very potent, so I was planning to leave them as-is for now.

PILOT and MECHANIC

Everyone's putting these two together, so I will, too. Although some details may need to be ironed out, it seems that the Mechanic = Parts, Pilot = Fuel dynamic seems to be okay.

Now, the question is, how much should a Pilot and Mechanic be able to scrounge? For simplicity, I would recommend one of the three options below (for simplicity):

1) Only one item
2) One item per crew (ie, 3 Pilots = 3 Fuel, 1 Mechanic = 1 Parts)
3) No limit

My thinking is that no limit is the simplest... but is it unbalancing? I would argue that in a multi-player game, it's not. Yes, you can get fuel or parts, but the offset is that you're using half your turn to do it (and then only if you're in the right place).

In a solo game, it's arguably a little unbalancing, since you're more likely to be in a circumstance where you're on a non-supply planet with nothing to do with your Buy action.

SOLDIER and MERC

I like the idea of $100 per Soldier in Alliance space and $100 per Merc in Border space. I was thinking that this would be added to the basic make-work value (so 2 Soldiers on Sihnon = $400).

Is that too much? It's possible to put together a crew of Soldiers or Mercenaries and earn a pretty decent living ($800 with a crew of 6 Soldiers, including Mal/Monty/Womack of $700 with a crew of Mercs). The down-side is that you're basically "working for locals" so you're not becoming solid with anyone if you do this on a regular basis.

This is a very different approach than the existing tactics (which basically seem to boil down to "do legal/safe jobs with a small crew" or "do crime with a large crew"), but what are the ramifications overall? If you build your crew for this, you'll have a very high Fight but without paying for equipment, will be crippled in other areas.

Also worth noting: because of their rarity and dispersal, a Soldier-heavy crew relies very much on luck of the draw (3 Soldiers are on Silverhold, and 1 each on Persephone and Regina).

With all this, I don't necessarily think a Soldier-heavy crew is too unbalanced.

Mercs, though, may be a less balanced, although still require a luck shuffle. You can get most of a Merc crew on three different supply worlds, although I would argue that 2 of the best are on Silverhold. Osiris is the only supply planet without Mercs. With so many Mercs in the game, and such relative ease in acquiring them, it seems that they need a balance more than Soldiers.

Perhaps with Mercs, when you do make-work, it goes like this:

1) Put together a crew (just like normal work)
2) Roll 1d6. If the result is equal to or less than the number of Mercs, you must Misbehave once.
3) If the result is Proceed, collect your money. Warrants are issued as normal and a result of Botched means no money.

Does all this seem close to balanced?

MERCS ONLY

All of the above is independent of the suggestion that Mercs who are not paid on a job quit the crew automatically rather than becoming disgruntled.

A roll (as Jon suggests) to determine if they just get disgruntled or quit might work, but my thinking was to keep it as streamlined and "either/or" as possible. (In theory, this might lead to a "Merc commander" or something that allows a roll to keep them, similar to medics and dead folk).

COMPANIONS

Companions and Grifters are the most controversial of my suggestions, with the feedback on Grifters being the most varied. People seem to like the idea of tying the Companion with Shore Leave, but don't like the execution.

Still, I'm going to make a pitch for my original idea, but with a little more explanation.

Recommendation: With a Companion in your crew, you can take Shore Leave on a non-supply planet, but the cost is doubled.

My thinking is this:

1) You still need to meet a fair amount of criteria: on a planet, spend money, spend an action.

2) In a non-solo game, obviously, you're not going to spend an action frivolously, since it's half your turn. But since most planets are within one Full Burn of a supply planet (two at most), mostly what you're doing is improving your timing. That CAN be a huge advantage, but it's not too different from Morale Booster (which uses actions rather than money and location, basically).

3) There are currently only three companions in the game: Nandi, Saffron, and Inara (personally, I think the idea of Shore Leave anywhere fits thematically, especially with Nandi... with respect to Inara, she's always cleaning up Mal's messes!)

I think this raises the value of Companions a bit, and it DOES allow you to play a particular type of game that's not otherwise possible (an option that favors immoral jobs a little more, but at the expense of time and money), I'm not sure that he limited circumstances this option would pay off in would show up with much regularity.

GRIFTERS

There's already a lot to discuss, so let's save those troublemakers until later.



 
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Stephen Williams
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PILOT and MECHANIC
gwek wrote:

Now, the question is, how much should a Pilot and Mechanic be able to scrounge? For simplicity, I would recommend one of the three options below (for simplicity):

1) Only one item
2) One item per crew (ie, 3 Pilots = 3 Fuel, 1 Mechanic = 1 Parts)
3) No limit


I think no limit is fine (as originally suggested.) If people feel a limit is required, I would say this:

A mechanic can scrounge one part (no matter how many mechanics) and a pilot can scrounge up to 3 fuel (no matter how many pilots.) That's mostly to keep the dollar value scrounged even. Fuel gets used up more quickly than parts, too, which is probably why it's cheaper in the first place.

Having a limit per crew with the mechanic/pilot keyword is a bad idea, IMHO, simply because it encourages a player to deliberately collect more than one of each. This impacts other players by reducing their odds of being able to pull a Crazy Ivan vs the Reavers.

Some people who want more player interaction might like that idea, but I think it's better to let this one be and seek player interaction through other house rules that are explicitly designed to that end.


SOLDIER and MERC
gwek wrote:

I like the idea of $100 per Soldier in Alliance space and $100 per Merc in Border space. I was thinking that this would be added to the basic make-work value (so 2 Soldiers on Sihnon = $400).

Is that too much? It's possible to put together a crew of Soldiers or Mercenaries and earn a pretty decent living ($800 with a crew of 6 Soldiers, including Mal/Monty/Womack of $700 with a crew of Mercs). The down-side is that you're basically "working for locals" so you're not becoming solid with anyone if you do this on a regular basis.


You've done some really good analysis on the whole Soldier/Merc front here. You make some solid points.

As I prefer simplicity in house rules such as these, I'd be inclined to switch it to +$200/Make-Work no matter how many soliders/mercs you have. For players who still feel the $100/soldier (merc) idea is too much. So you can earn $400/Make-Work in either Alliance or Border space, depending.


COMPANIONS
gwek wrote:

Recommendation: With a Companion in your crew, you can take Shore Leave on a non-supply planet, but the cost is doubled.


That's fair, and I can sympathize with wanting to get away from so many abilities that earn money. It does get repetitive.

I'd be inclined to leave the cost the same, though. The purpose of Shore Leave is to get rid of disgruntled tokens, and the primary source of disgruntled tokens (in my experience, anyway) is choosing not to pay your crew (or else morality qualms.)

Doubling the price rapidly dilutes the benefit of not paying your crew for jobs, which would leave me going to supply planets anyway just to avoid the extra cost.
 
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Me That is, myself
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gwek wrote:
So now, looking at the initial feedback keyword by keyword:

PILOT and MECHANIC

Everyone's putting these two together, so I will, too. Although some details may need to be ironed out, it seems that the Mechanic = Parts, Pilot = Fuel dynamic seems to be okay.

Now, the question is, how much should a Pilot and Mechanic be able to scrounge? For simplicity, I would recommend one of the three options below (for simplicity):

1) Only one item
2) One item per crew (ie, 3 Pilots = 3 Fuel, 1 Mechanic = 1 Parts)
3) No limit


How about no limit, but since it's harder to find +100 for each (200/Fuel, 400/part).
 
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